In Illinois, it has historically been a hard road for the non-custodial parent. Based on case law, the thought has been that fifty-fifty custody is not obtainable, nor a schedule that delves anywhere close to it in Illinois. There is a long list of appellate decisions that have seemed to support this belief, which has causes trial courts to strongly disfavor equal custody awards in custody cases.
Recently, however, a reported appellate decision came out in Illinois, in the Third District, that might provide hope for non-custodial parents and advocates of shared custody. The case is Perez v. Perez, 2015 IL App. 3d 140876 (April 3, 2015, Third District). In Perez, the mother appealed a trial court order that awarded her and the father equal parenting plan under a joint custody order and a decision not to designate her as the primary residence for the parties’ child.
The Court of Appeals disagreed with the mother and affirmed the award of equal (50/50) parenting plan and the decision not to name a primary residence. The Perez Court distinguished the facts in Perez from a long list of prior appellate decisions in Illinois that seemed to disfavor equal (or 50/50) custody.
Specifically, they pointed out that the parties had demonstrated the extraordinary level of cooperation required for a joint parenting agreement. They also explained that both parents were involved in the child’s life and each wished to maintain their level of involvement.
Unlike other cases where the child would be away from the parent for an extended period of time, in this case, the child was to travel back and forth between the parents frequently. In a two-week period, Father was to have the child on Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Thursday. In the same two-week period, Mother was to have the child on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
This is just one decision in Illinois based on a unique set of facts. However, it is a big decision because it may provide the legal authority for trial courts to begin awarding equal custody time in cases where the facts warrant it.
If you are in need of a child custody attorney in Illinois, Stange Law Firm, PC can help. You can reach us at 1-855-805-0595.